Planning is the key to a successful move outcome. How many times have you heard those words of wisdom? Yet it’s much easier said than done. How exactly do you go about planning for a successful move?

Over the next several weeks, we’ll address relocation topics here on our blog that will give you the practical information you need to achieve a flawless move, or as close to flawless as possible!

  • Today we’ll address the initial office relocation planning phase and exactly what you need to know and do to get move strategy right.
  • Next week, we’ll work through the pre-implementation phase where you’ll begin to take action on your plan and prepare everything for move day.
  • Next we’ll provide a checklist of to-dos for move day and post-move.
  • Following that, we’ll provide some helpful advice for optimizing your churn management.

Office Relocation Planning Starts With Strategy

For most companies, office relocation planning really begins with your strategic plan for the year. That’s when you’ll decide where you are going with your portfolio: are you consolidating or adding new space? What leases are coming up for expiry? Where do you have large vacancies and opportunities to move groups? With those big-picture issues identified, you’ll decide what you want to accomplish for the year and create a series of smaller move projects, each to be delivered over a period of about 6 to 12 weeks (depending on the size).

PLANNING and COMMUNICATION: The keys to a successful move

Before we get into the details of office relocation planning, here are some general words of advice:

  • Start planning early and prepare for every aspect of your move, documenting the details of your plan and updating whenever something changes.
  • It’s just about inevitable that things WILL change during your office relocation planning, so keep your ear to the ground so you’re aware of what’s going on and can adjust your plans.
  • Proactively communicate with everyone concerned so they know what’s happening, when it will take place, how it will affect them and what they need to do.

Office Relocation Planning: THE PLANNING PHASE

The planning phase generally begins about 6 to 12 weeks before the move, and is when you’ll make key office relocation planning decisions about what you want to accomplish, gather important data to drive your plan, and create a plan to accomplish your goal. Here are the important steps:

Define and commit to a goal, such as exiting a building that no longer suits your needs or building a new flexible workspace.

Gather your baseline building data, including your current block and stack, who sits where, and any vacancy that exists today. This information will help to drive your office relocation planning to meet your goal.

Create relocation scenarios and assess the feasibility to make a decision. There may be more than one way to meet your goal, and you’ll need to decide on the best scenario. And it’s critically important to take the needs of your lines of business into account at this stage of your office relocation planning. Make sure what you decide aligns with their plans and goals.

Nominate business sponsors, stakeholders and champions. Office relocation planning is a big job, and to get it right you’ll need the support of representatives from all involved groups. The sponsor is a leader that you’re planning the move for, such as your Head of Property. Stakeholders represent each of your delivery teams, such as IT, Facilities and any affected business units. Champions are the people who provide you with information and handle tasks related to the relocation on behalf of their business unit.

Document non-standard requirements. Are there any business units, teams or individuals who have special requirements or restrictions you need to know about for your office relocation planning? For example, you may need to plan for moving special equipment like trading desks, IT test labs, voice recording facilities, HR interview rooms, or providing special needs access. Take that information into account from the beginning to avoid delays later.

Validate your data to drive your delivery plan. Now is the time to confirm your baseline building data and gather any missing details about who sits where and what vacancies actually exist. At this point, make sure you find out about any plans your business units may have for adding or reducing staff as well. This data will impact your relocation plan, so it’s important to have accurate information now.

If you’ve got a large relocation project in the works, now is the time to implement a workplace management system if you don’t already have an automated tool that will help you with collecting and validating all that data.

Here’s a great resource to get you started: 5 Critical Comparison Points for Workplace Management Software.